A Nanaimo writer’s message of empowerment has moved book clubs from across the country to nominate her for a national prize.
Last month the Canadian Book Club Awards announced its finalists for 2021 and Nanaimo’s Blaise Hunter said she was “shocked” to learn her book Heroine: Embrace Your Flaws and Own Your Awesome was nominated in the Spirituality and Wellness category.
“It actually really was surreal and made this whole journey really worth it to know the impact it’s making,” she said. “So that was a really wonderful feeling.”
The Canadian Book Club Awards, based out of Vancouver, provides books to clubs from across the country and asks readers to vote on their favourites. In Heroine, Hunter tackles issues like body image and self-worth and stigmatized subjects like infertility and pregnancy loss. Hunter does this by telling her own story of overcoming low self-esteem, as well as the stories of 30 other women.
“In 2021 these topics are still very taboo,” Hunter said. “They’re being talked about more than 10 years ago, but we still have a long way to go to move that needle. And so that’s my job: to keep pushing the conversation.”
The other two finalists wrote about grieving and breast cancer. Hunter said she’s rooting for all three of them because they all take on “really raw, intense, emotional” topics and she knows the effort it takes to get to get published.
“It’s just amazing to put yourself out there and that’s bravery and vulnerability isn’t weakness and I think we’re all amazing writers and that it’s really cool to celebrate Canadian writers,” she said.
Hunter said it feels “so amazing” that her book is connecting with general readers, and “if I can touch a few people in this world from my words, then it was worth it.”
“I just wanted to make an impact on this world and not sit here and survive but actually gather up all my life, the good and the bad, and make something of it. Make a pearl out of my problems,” Hunter said.
The winners will be announced on Dec. 30.
Heroine: Embrace Your Flaws and Own Your Awesome is available here.